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where more than 30,000 men, women and children have been massacred by assad regime over the past 20 months. violent extremists are flowing into the fight. our ally turkey has been attacked and the conflict threatens stability in the region. america can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on al qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan including the kill of usama bin laden. these are real achievements won at a high cost. al qaeda remains a strong force however in yemen and somalia, in libya, and other parts of north africa, in iraq and now in syria and other extremists have gained ground across the region. drones and modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the middle east. the president is fond of saying that the tide of war is receding and i want to believe him as much as anyone else but when we look at the middle east today, with iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in syria threatening to destablize the region and with vio
of the syrian president bashar assad, turkey flip support to the rebels. and now provides a safehane for fighters. >> -- safe haven for fighter fighters. the wail of ambulances signals more wounded rebels coming from life-saving treatment in turkey. much of the ammunition and weapons use in the rebel street to street combat comes across the same border, flowing in to syria. unverifiable amateur video shows the civil war intensifying. with rebels celebrating capture of syrian army checkpoint and commandeering armored personnel carrier. what the larger battle comes increasing death toll. estimated 200 in the past two days. the international community is reluctant to intervene militarily in the syrian civil war but the artillery exchanges between syria and turkey could easily escalate to a regional war. bringing in nato. but it may not end there. as the syrian regime enjoyed uncontinue support from russia and iran. bret? >> bret: leland vittert in our middle east newsroom. thank you. >>> up next, why is the number 716 billion so importantbe in this presidential race? later, the small b
it. these fighters are from libya, and iraq who are seasoned jihaddists. if bashar al-assad leaves you have a continuing civil war between the local rebels who want democracy and the jihaddists who want an islamist state. bill: leland vittert live. martha: $716 billion question. governor romney's campaign has said repeatedly that the president plans to cut $716 billion from medicare. >> medicare for current retirees, he's cutting $716 billion from the program. now he says by not over paying hospitals and proceed sraoeursd, actuallproviders. going to hem them and saying we're going to reduce the rates across the board. that is not cutting the rates where there is abuse that's just cutting the rates. >> the obama campaign claims that is not through. jim angle is live from washington to help us court it all out. >> reporter: as you showed, martha, governor romney insists the president cut 716 billion from medicare while the president argues he saved 716 billion east said during the debate. >> $716 billion we were able to save from the medicare program by no longer over paying insuranc
's pursuit of the nuclear weapon and assad willingness to shoot down rebels. romney took that on directly. >> steve: here is the response to rom romm's. president obama has shown he is tough and responsible and steady commander-in-chief. mitt romney shows he would be the exact opposite. behind the tough talk he is erratic and unsteady and irresponsible on his audition in the world stage. would you agree with that. >> of course not. they can say over and over again. especially when romney talks about not setting a time limit. >> brian: let me bring you to afghanistan real quick before we run out of time. a reporter came out in a speech in washington and said the administration has been lying and there is a narrative coming out of the washington that is nonsense. she got out of afghanistan like you d and she said the taliban is gaining strength and we are not told the truth. that is a farrah phrase for word and that is her position. is it yours. >> the taliban is gaining strength and there is a narrative from administration. i want the narrative to be progress in afghanistan especially with
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